Hormel Institute scientist awarded $2M to research colorectal cancer

(ABC 6 News) – A Hormel Institute scientist has been awarded $2 million to study the spread of colorectal cancer cells to the liver.

Ningling Kang, PhD, Associate Professor, and leader of the Tumor Microenvironment & Metastasis research section has received a grant titled “Hepatic Stellate Cell Regulation of Metastatic Growth in the Liver.”

The five-year, $2 million R01 award was awarded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Liver metastasis is a process where cancer cells that originated from a different part of the body spread to the liver.

This grant will allow Dr. Kang’s research group to investigate how colorectal cancer cells that originated from the colon or rectum grow when they enter the liver.

This research could lead to potential strategies to prevent colorectal cancer from spreading into the liver or suppressing its growth in the liver.

The research could also lead to new treatments for colorectal cancer, which is often difficult to treat and fatal.

“Due to the lack of effective treatments, colorectal cancer often spreads into the liver, leading to death for many patients. The overall five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer patients is 65% and it reduces to around 15% for advanced cancer patients when cancer has spread into other parts of the body. Understanding how colorectal cancer colonizes the liver will help us design new strategies to treat colorectal cancer and improve the survival of the patients,” said Dr. Kang.

This project has been continuously funded by the NCI for the last 11 years and this funding will enable Dr. Kang to continue this project for the next five years.

It is also the fourth time Dr. Kang has obtained a five-year grant from the NCI.